As you make your way around far north Queensland, you’ll hear people talk about stopping whatever they’re doing to have “smoko”. In the old days, it meant stopping work for a cigarette break, and was probably a term introduced by sheep shearers. In FNQ these days, smoko means “morning tea” break, or any adjournment of work for the purpose of refreshment.
Smoko was a much looked-forward to thing on our long road journey from Cairns to Weipa and back – sometimes three or four times a day. The Peninsula Development Road has road houses at regular intervals, with fuel, food accomodation and info on road conditions. We pulled in to most of them, including the Archer River road house. It’s a short ride from the turn-off for Bamaga and the Northern Peninsula Area, about 200km from Weipa.
It’s a short walk from the road house to the Archer River, which is completely dry at present, but floods during the wet season. It came lapping at the road house doors after cyclone Monica crossed the Cape in 2006. The Archer flows from the McIlwraith Range and runs through Mungkan Kandju country to enter the Gulf of Carpentaria near Aurukun.
Brad and Modena Allan run the Archer River road house. Listen to Brad talk about life, running a business on the Cape, and the challenges of the Peninsula Development Road. Brad’s talking to the ABC’s Charlie McKillop.